sweet Colonia

Now that we’re almost leaving Argentina, we are very busy finishing our to-do-list. One of the items on it was visiting Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay. It is across the river from Buenos Aires, it only takes about an hour by boat, so an easy journey to a lovely, old, romantic little town. Like our first experience with Uruguay, we were enchanted by the sweetness of the people, the respect for nature and culture and the easy pace. And the view on the river, from both sides of the old town, is stunning, especially at sunset.
We had a lucky shot with our hotel, Colonia Suite, which we picked from TripAdvisor, and it was the perfect choice. Colonia Suite is a bed-and-breakfast with three rooms in a lovely house, where we had the big garden room, with our own balcony with stairs to the beautiful garden. The owner, Fred, was the sweetest man, who made us feel really welcome, and prepared a big breakfast for us every morning. He also arranged a wonderful dinner in Energais, a private restaurant in town, where we had drinks before dinner in the garden under the stars, between giant cactuses (which we incidentally had been admiring during the day) and a view on the river and Buenos Aires.

good Bye, part 2

One thing that I'm really going to miss is the beautiful park in Palermo, also known as Bosque de Palermo. A beautifully landscaped big park, with a enormous rose garden that seems to be in bloom always. Especially Saturdays afternoons are good, when everybody is there to have a good time, skate, ride a bike or a horse cart, or just to sit and see the sun setting and the leaves turning. A bit like Central Park.


I've found a new place that will be given a high number in my list of Favourite Places in the World: La Pedrera, in beautiful Uruguay.

When I was a child, we used to spend almost all our holidays in La Guimorais in France, and I still dream about that about once a week. And now I've found a place similar to it, on the other side of the world. And, like in my childhood, we've found a place where you can sleep in the dunes, so you can hear the sea in your dreams as well. Only this time no cold water showers and little tents.

In Pueblo Barrancas, you can choose for Glamping, beautiful, well furnished big tents or, like we did, big wooden cabins on stilts. Pueblo Barrancas has eco-friendlyness high on their priority list, they make sure the stunning dunes and nature are reserved. I'm all for that, especially if I can sleep 20 meters from the sea, and I'm welcomed by all those wonderful people that work here. We loved the place and the village, and the whole country so much, it needs further investigation!

and everywhere!

I’m also really proud to tell you that our house will be featured in Holly Beckers first interior book. Holly Becker is talented founder and editor of the blog Decor8, a inspiring blog on interior decorating, that is read by at least 35000 readers, a day (!). It will be published by Jacqui Small in London and Chronicle Books in the US, and will be officially launched April 13, at Liberty in London. I’ve received some spreads of the book. Our kitchen is shown on the little image. I don’t know how much of our house will be shown in the book. But the images Debi Treloar took of it, as you can see, are really beautiful. I was very much honored to be asked, and really enjoyed seeing two talented people like Holly and Debi at work. And if my design is in a book that is described as such: 'Clever, creative and quirky advice from the world’s best designers and architects; a gorgeous source of essential expert guidance, featuring both quick fixes for small budgets and indulgent ideas for more ambitious projects."

I’m really very proud indeed, even if only the kitchen would be featured.

my house in Sweden

Well. I’m very proud. Our house, that I designed myself (with some help of SoapAteliers), is on the cover of a Swedisch magazine, Rum (or Nya Rum, can’t figure it out completely)! The images were taken a few years ago by Paul Barbera, and were featured in the Dutch edition of Glamour Magazine. The images have been circling around on the internet quite a lot, and now they’re here in Sweden. Because I’m in Argentina, I can’t go and buy the magazine myself. Luckily I found a Swedisch blog, Finikanten, that showed some of the pages on her site. Thank you, Anaewa!
And wait! There’s more…

my 'best of San Telmo'

Well, we have left San Telmo and moved (uptown, so to say) to Palermo Hollywood. A lot to discover, and of course you’ll get a long report. But now that we’ve left San Telmo, I can remember better wich things and places I loved best there, aside from the addresses I already mentioned. Sunday mornings were my favourite.
If you start reasonably early, you’ll find the streets still empty and calm, so you’ll have the time to discover in a gentle pace. Good to walk the big round, and if you reach the end of your round, (if you start from the side of AV. San Juan, that is) the streets are bustling with people, couples dancing the tango, finally!, musicians playing the music to go with it, and shops open that are closed on weekdays. And the street markets are at it’s best, with beautiful lace table cloths, old earrings, flowery tea cups and plates, stuff you would hope to find in your grandmothers’ attic.
My favourite stall was in a little doorway at the beginning of Defensa, near Av. San Juan. I bought some lovely old lace and velvet flower corsages there. If you are more interested in stuff from the now, not to worry, they’re opened as well. I liked Vicky Otero’s designs, and fortunatly there was a sale going on. A few blocks down there was a nice tea-cheese-shop, El Baztán, nice to have a quiet cup of tea and to get away from the crowds. Origen was also a favourite, but I mostly went there to work (1 day a week), Origen, because it was close by, the food was fresh and healthy(-ish), and it has big terrace in front. Around the corner from Origen, I finally found a good massage place, if you’re ever in San Telmo, go to Solemia System at Carlos Calvo 606, and ask for Eva.

restaurant Caseros

Quite close to where we live at the moment, there's a lovely restaurant, called Caseros. Especially nice to go there for lunch, because the interior is nice and clean, and the food they serve fits the atmosphere: nice and light, with lovely grilled vegetables, salads, marinated salmon and shrimps. I also enjoyed the grilled Provolone. Go here if you happen to be in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, and you're looking for a nice alternative for the grill restaurants (who are also mostly very good, by the way).

San Telmo, my new neighborhood

So... we're in Buenos Aires. All the stories I heard about this city are true: alive, vibrant, inspiring. I'm still in the middle of exploring our new neighborhood, San Telmo, where will be living for one months. Because we have two small children, it probably takes a bit longer before we have seen everything. But because we walk in a slow pace, we won't miss a thing! San Telmo is divided in two parts by a big high way. We live in the more quiet part, in an amazing house (more about which later). Actually, we're surrounded by beautiful architecture, old and new. Run down or rebuilt. Near us is a small park, Parcue Lezama, some colorful shops, and two fantastic restaurants. Hierbabuena is good for lunch, with or without children, because they have great salads an the most delicious fresh raspberryjuice I have ever tasted. Nicely decorated with sparkling green tiles. A few doors down is Caseros, a sparsely decorated restaurant, very stylish and chic. We had a beautiful lunch there with family and friends, and we'll go there for dinner tonight. More about that later.

colorful dreams

In Tanti, near Cordoba, we rented a beautiful house, with a giant garden, close to the river. It's owners are Dutch, so you get an interesting mix of Argentinian architecture and Dutch classic furniture, Argentinian nature and Dutch landscaping. With a very beautiful and calming result. There was one room in the house that was absolutely my favorite. It was semi-separate from the house, and the stairs to it already gave me a good feeling. Fresh, tangy but still soft yellow-green walls combined with green tiles, and on top of the stairs a nice promise for the room. It was painted in a lovely soft pink-orange tint, walls and ceilings. On the bed a nice, handmade, quilt, a lappendeken we call it in Holland. Nice idea for boring winter evenings (next year). Even the closets gave a new inspiration: a small little round metal screen to let in some fresh air. The flowery curtains were a bit faded, but that only adds to the romantic atmosphere.

inspiration from Carlos Paz

Before I report on the wonderful things that I'm seeing in Buenos Aires, where we are now, I want to show you the beauty of Tanti, Carlos Paz and other small towns and villages that we visited near Cordoba, Argentina. Carlos Paz is a strange little town. At first glance not beautiful at all. But if you take a closer look, fascinating. Beautiful houses next to the ugliest buildings you can imagine. Trees and flowers everywhere. Amazingly beautiful rivers and streams, where everybody gathers on a free afternoon or to spend a sunday. And everybody cleans up after they leave. And even the pavements, or a hand painted sign on a car, are a joy for the eye.

inspiration point: Tanti, Argentina

Now that I'm not surrounded by high tech design, fashion and architecture, I can focus on other sources of inspiration. Tanti, a charming little village in Argentina, an hour from Cordoba, is a good starting point. The nature is breathtakingly beautiful, and is well respected by everybody. and the people that live here, with their calm and gentle, and funloving nature, are teaching lesson or two in how to live your life. Now that we're on a sabbatical, just the thing that I'm looking for. Besides that, I have time to explore more settings and techniques on my camera, like Diarama and Black and White Grainy images.

happy christmas!

Almost exactly three years ago, we moved into our new home. The day before the move, our house was clean, empty and ... white. A perfect setting for a nice Christmas shoot. Time to do a productions together with Patricia Hessing, an architect and a designer at Soap Ateliers. To give an answer to the question: how to celebrate the perfect christmas production even though you're surrounded by boxes, paint and other moving stuff. The beautiful images were taken by James Stokes. We called it Take Away Christmas, but now it's shown in VT Wonen, called Out of The Box. And now, because we're moving to Argentina in two weeks, we're surrounded by boxes again! How convenient. (I hope I have time to show some more of this production, I still really love it).

redecoration of a showroom, part four

To give the sunglasses a better display and give the stylist an opportunity to try them on, I designed these mirrored shelves, and Douglas van Vugt made them. They sort of wrap themselves around the pillars in the showroom. Normally those pillars just take up a lot of room, not anymore! One of the shelved walls I covered with sackcloth and painted white, like the front desk in the entrance. In the area where all the clothes are processed, curtains were made of raw linen. They give a calm, pure look in an area that is normally quite cluttered. And they match the white, beige and black palette perfectly.

redecoration of a showroom, part three

..so the wall can function as a clean and neutral background for brochures, booklets and small items. The walls in the entrance were painted white. The front desk was also painted white, and I stapled sackcloth over the light boxes and painted that white as well. Now the entrance is clean and welcoming and it gives a preview of what you will find when you turn the corner.

redecoration of a showroom, part one

A few years ago I worked on an intensive redecoration of the showroom of the PR-company Unlimited PR in Amsterdam. Because it celebrated it's 10th anniversary this year, I did some finishing touches to enhance the festive feeling. The showroom is huge, on the ground floor of a big loft style building. I'm really happy with the result, the owner made the wise decision to have all the floors repainted by DRT vloeren. The big building jobs were done by the men of my favourite contractor Tools and carpenter Douglas van der Vugt built the beautiful mirrored shelves. I'll lead you through the story in a few posts.
the images above show the showroom before the latest renovation and the design that I made for the wall in the entrance.

more at Ijm

Ijm is created by Frank Visser, but he always shares is work, ideas and his studio with a lot of other creative people. During InsideDesign you could also have a look at the drawings of Charlotte Koopman and Veronik Willems (below) and visit Mieke Willems  a shop that is set up by Mieke Verbijlen and Veronik Willems. Lovely work that puts a smile on your face.

Marlein at Ijm

People that visit or work with Frank Visser's studio Ijm, are always spoiled with Marlein Overakker's food. This weekend, during InsideDesign, she cooked in the evenings, that was served inside Frank's studio. So you could feast your eyes as well as your stomach. I still dream about the dessert: whipped cream with crushed raspberries, dark dark chocolate and cookies. Served from a big jar...
If you ever visit Ijm, don't forget to sneek a peek at Marlein's kitchen, a dream for every food and style lover.